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A Festival of Fun

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Fallfest.jpgThere were princesses and transformers, ladybugs and cowboys wandering the halls of MD Anderson last week. If any of them jumped out and said "BOO!," we hope it didn't scare you.

The annual Fall Festival, sponsored by the Department of Volunteer Services, was the source of the fun. But coordinators of the festival report that this was a true collaboration of individuals and departments from across MD Anderson.

Pediatric patients in the Children's Cancer Hospital were decked out in funny, silly and sometimes even spooky costumes to get an early start on Halloween trick or treating.

The event began with a dual parade, one leaving from the Robin Bush Child and Adolescent Clinic and the other from the Children's Cancer Hospital inpatient floor. Employees lined the hospital hallways and were ready to fill pumpkins, bags and little hands with sweet treats.

Employees offered every variety of candy to the pedi paraders. Tootsie Pops, Snickers, Milk Duds, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hot Tamales, M&M's, Jolly Ranchers, Hershey's Kisses, Jelly Beans, Skittles, Starburst Fruit Chews -- does your stomach hurt yet? This was trick or treat paradise.

fall.jpgMassive carnival
The parades both ended in The Park, which was transformed into a massive carnival. This year, 40 booths were created by hospital departments and organizations to entertain the revelers.

Those who manned the booths were also in full costume. Child Life specialists appeared as a picnic and Mrs. Pac Man even made the scene.

One favorite area was a pumpkin patch, sponsored by the W.W. Grainger Company, where young goblins selected a pumpkin and even decorated it with paint and stickers. GLBT presented a mini-haunted house, complete with spaghetti brains and slimy grape eyeballs.

Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition sponsored a LEGO® booth with special miniature LEGO® giveaways. Other departments offered a unique laser shot game and booths where patients could take their pick of tossing bean bags, jack-o'-lanterns, footballs or even rats -- EEEKKK! A lollipop tree, face painting, photo booth and go-fishing game were also part of the merriment.

And it wasn't just fun and games. Pediatric patients and their families took a break from the MD Anderson cafeteria to enjoy hot dogs, nachos, snow cones and slushies, topped off by candy, of course.

The Fall Festival, one of the largest in recent years, was such a success that organizers are hoping to possibly initiate other similar events at MD Anderson.

"This went far beyond pediatrics," says Brandon Floyd, program coordinator for Volunteer Services. "It was a great day for everyone -- a real bonding time for the entire institution."

But just for now: "From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us."

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